Build Your Own Trip

I am “Too good at goodbyes”, but not with Southeast Asia

So all of us know the male-version of Adele, Sam Smith, has debuted his new addicted single “Too good at goodbyes”, which I find really similar to my travel style. However, I still can’t make it with Southeast Asia, because there are many small little things following me back home after the moment I waved goodbye to this land.

It can easily become a hit, just like Sam’s song, your first Southeast Asia vacation. The colors are brighter, the smells are sharper, and the sounds are clearer. Every sense seems so much more in focus than it was back home. And excluding the majestic and insanely beautiful landscape, there are things, just lil’ things, chasing you all the road, going right into your mind and heart. And we’re about to tell you that the things you first balked at will be some of the things that you’ll miss most once you’ve gone.

The everywhere fruits

Can’t describe enough how you will love the feeling of facing to fruit street vendors every corner of every street in your vacation. Banana, pineapple, coconut, pomegranate, etc. in all versions, from juice, sliced ones to fresh-and-whole ones. And no, there’s no such price of USD 5 like in your local supermarket, just around 1 buck and you can get a lot of them.

You will almost forget about why you loved sugar so much. Fruit is really all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, and a blender is the only tool you need.

The food

No SEA list is completed without the food. This land is a land of heritage, of breathtaking landscape, of everything, obviously a land of excellent foods. “Tom Yum” and “Pad Thai” of Thailand, “Pho” and “Banh mi” of Vietnam, they are all feel like heaven in your mouth (you might want to read our articles about Vietnamese cuisines and Thailand foods. Those words are yum!).  Or the fact that you could order a plate of pad see ewe at a grill and you weren’t sure if it was an actual street stall or just someone’s home and they just happened to be grilling in their backyard.

And the funny thing is that when you get back home, your friends will inevitably want to celebrate your homecoming with a visit to an Asian restaurant, which most likely make you turn up your nose in disappointment at both the quality and price. Congratulations! Your taste buds have been ruined for life. You can do nothing to save it, you are just able to miss, every day… every night…

The price

Just a simple comparison, you can get the valuable hotels and services for about $120 a day in most of Southeast Asia; compare that to Paris, where you might spend up to $750 per day. Sounds good enough? But just forget it, as I am not good at Mathematics at all, plus I’m dizzy from many of the $0.25  wonderful Vietnamese fresh beer glasses.

The “organized-chaos”

Once my friend said, “While being in Southeast Asia, I feel like I’m playing some kinds of RPGs every time walking outside”. And maybe it is not over saying, as you will never know what you are going to meet, see, eat, or end up in a daily basis in your Southeast Asia trip. They may be a scooter packed with 5 people in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a Bangkok tuk-tuk driver who navigated the streets like being in a video game, a beautiful scene of orange-clothed monk group walking in Luang Prabang old town etc.

It is a little scary at first, then lovely at last. Which after a while start to make way more sense to you than all of the little laws you have to deal with back home. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, they don’t really care. Isn’t that how life should be?

And in the end, if you’re lucky, you come to understand that what you at first considered “chaos” is actually just a tiny piece of the pattern of Southeast Asian life which is much bigger than you could ever comprehend.

The bargaining

It is kind of funny when you find out that bargaining somehow can be addicting. It is not easy to know exactly since when you feel bargaining in shopping is interesting in your SEA trip. You will feel satisfied, with not only the “good-deal-in-your-mind” you can achieve, but also the unique cultural experience. Because here, in this land, bargaining is not simply the story of trying to save some bucks in your pocket, it is a way of life. Have you seen in anywhere else, except SEA, the sellers smile when hearing that you tried to lower their product’s price?

Just remember that while bargaining is common in markets or street vendors, it is not accepted or possible in convenience stores like 7-Eleven or upscale shopping malls.

Sam, oh my dear Sam, I wish you could meet Southeast Asia…